News in Brief
Sweet potatoes farmed worldwide picked up a bit of genetic engineering — without human help.
Samples collected from 291 cultivated sweet potatoes carry at least one stretch of DNA from Agrobacterium, says plant molecular biologist Godelieve Gheysen of Ghent University in Belgium. The Agrobacterium genus includes the main bacterial species that makes intentionally...
For Daily Use
Prominent ears draw the eyes, and that might not be a bad thing. In a new study, adults spent more time looking at children’s protruding ears than at unexceptional auricles, and the adults didn’t judge the children’s personalities negatively.
Researchers used photos of 20 children and teenagers who had sought surgery to change the appearance of their ears. Twenty adult observers’ gazes...
50 Years Ago
Moon surface safe? — Both the unmanned Surveyor spacecraft and the two-man Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) will be able to land safely on the moon without breaking through the crust or sinking down out of sight in a layer of dust, some scientists now...
Through May 22, 2015
Prints made from 18th century engravings depict plants that were collected on an expedition to the South Pacific led by the great explorer James Cook.
NATIONAL TROPICAL BOTANICAL GARDEN, KALAHEO, HAWAII...
- Reviews & Previews 04/18/2015 - 10:00 Animals, History of Science
For more on the future of forecasting, see SN's feature "Weather forecasting is getting a high-speed makeover."
More advanced warnings of incoming weather systems sound like a great idea, but researchers are learning that...
The mere presence of someone else can make the brain sharpen its focus. In the company of a friend, monkeys became more productive at a simple job, researchers report April 8 in Cerebral Cortex. This diligence was accompanied by heightened activity in brain regions that focus attention....
Hillary Clinton’s announcement last weekend that she is officially running for president set pundits spinning on both sides of the aisle. Released via a video on Clinton’s campaign website, the announcement featured only 92 words from the candidate, which were variously quoted by media outlets of all stripes. Consider this...
Plants turn out to be secondhand smokers, taking in nicotine from humankind’s tobacco and fumes. And lab tests suggest that slipping a cigarette butt into a plant’s pot sends a temporary surge of nicotine into its leaves.
Researchers sprinkled 100 milligrams of American Spirit tobacco — about an eighth to a tenth of a cigarette — onto the soil of potted peppermint plants. Nine days later...
Celebrities wield serious power in the realm of public health, with mixed results. Disclosures of personal medical decisions can raise awareness and research dollars for crippling diseases (see Michael J. Fox and Parkinson’s), or they can spread misleading, harmful misinformation (see...